It’s a common misconception that if you need to get a handle on your financial situation that you have to totally give up anything that brings you joy. Sacrifices do have to be made to some degree. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the little things or even save for the future.

Long-term financial security is something most people aspire to achieve. We’ve all heard the stories of people that haven’t spent money on the essentials for months and manage to save thousands, but like most people experience, life gets in the way. It may not be viable for you to go without everything to try and save, so getting that happy medium is essential.

What’s more, having a future money plan can help to improve your lifestyle and mental health in the long run. When you feel more secure in your situation, it enables you to relax and think about things more logically and realistically. Having a plan in place also offers you a goal to work towards.

So what can you do to get this balance? It can be challenging, but there are lots of options to try to suit your lifestyle. Take a look at some of the most common ways to manage your money better while still enjoying a happy and healthy life:

Create a money management plan and budget

Having a plan of action is the best way to make changes for the better. Without any clear goals, you won’t be able to see the full scale of what you want to achieve. Each month you’ll have regular bills and commitments, so you instantly know where you stand with your outgoings. That’s not to say you can’t spend your money on anything else because food and irregular outgoings also need to feature. However, with these aspects, it can be a great idea to set yourself a budget.

Budgeting is beneficial to see how much you spend in an average week or month. It might be that you like having a coffee every morning on the way to work or a regular fluttering on the horses. However, if you try to look at this expenditure in a different way, it can help adjust your money management. Perhaps only have coffee a few times a week or take your own cup to save some cash on the purchase (as many coffee shops offer a little discount to reusable cup holders). Plus, instead of regular small bets, why not opt for one larger event such as choosing your favourite in a flutter on grand national betting instead.

Invite your friends around for a fakeaway

One of the most significant lifestyle expenses is eating out and takeaways. However, you can get a similar experience if you fake it. One of the best things about this type of occasion is that you’re interacting and spending time with friends and family. So why not do that in your own home? It can be a great way to save some money rather than footing the bill in a restaurant. Plus, you can chat as loud as you want without annoying the next table. If cooking isn’t your forte, then why not try a get together where everyone brings something along with them. You could opt for a themed night such as Mexican or Indian, and each person or couple can bring along a dish for the meal. It’s super easy to do, and that way everyone gets involved in keeping the costs down.

Don’t feel bad if you do splurge

There’s nothing worse than feeling guilty for something that is sometimes out of your control. In some cases, you may have to fork out for a broken down boiler or unexpected bills that can’t be avoided. Life happens, and there’s no point in feeling bad when it does as this can hamper your long-term plans. Trying to have a contingency fund can help, but having a separate pot for this is not something everyone can have due to other financial commitments.

The same can be said if you decide to splurge on something you might not have needed. These things happen and short of taking it back (if you want to, of course!) just move on from it. No one is perfect and having a treat every now and then is often an excellent way to feel better and take stock of your priorities.

Make sure you have a purpose

It’s all well and good, creating a plan and budgeting, but unless you have a purpose for the frugality, then you could start well and fail within a few months. You need to ask yourself, what is the purpose of money management. This will tie into your goals, but if you don’t have a set goal, then you may find it hard to stick to your plan and budget.

It’s not just about creating an end goal either, it’s relating to it on a deeper level. If it’s just your personal goal, then it has to matter to you. If it’s a goal with a loved one, both people have to be on-board to ensure you don’t feel like your sacrificing anything more than the other person.

The purpose of money management doesn’t have to be a tangible asset either, such as a bigger pension pot or a new car. It can be focused on how being in control of money makes you feel. As mentioned above, feeling secure can help improve mental health and creates a more positive outlook. Plus, you don’t have to have bags of cash to feel like this. It’s all about perspective and tailoring it to your needs so that you get the most out of the experience.

There are lots of ways you can save money and live life to the full without scrimping too much in the process. Don’t forget there’s also tons of information online, too, to help you create plans and budgets, which can help you reach your goals.